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Vioz - How We Made Thievery an Ordinary Thing

How We Made Thievery an Ordinary Thing

According to Torrent Freak, 'The MPA recently filed a complaint in Norway seeking to expand a blockade of 'The Pirate Bay', 'Vioz', 'ExtraTorrent', and several other sites that was put in place during 2015. The Hollywood group aimed to add seven new ISPs and several additional sites to the country's blocklist. It has now achieved its goals but critics say that holding ISPs responsible for copyright infringement is unfair'.

Let's take a look at the website 'Vioz.vc'

At first glance, 'Vioz' has a relatively impressive design among other websites of its nature. It offers free video streaming, or free movies to be exact. The movies are laid out in the form of a grid with thumbnails. It has a panel on the left holding 9 elements;

· 'Home' to navigate back to the website's homepage from any other page.

· 'Movies' which navigates the user to a web page with all the movies that have ever been uploaded to the website.

· 'Genres' and 'Years' that take you to a filtration page that you can use to filter movies by their genre (Action Adventure Animation Biography Comedy Crime Documentary Drama Family Fantasy Film-Noir Foreign HD History Horror Indian Music Musical Mystery News Romance Sci-Fi Short Sport Talk-Show Thriller War and Western) and also you can use the same page to filter movies according to their release year, from as long back as 1920 to 2014.

· 'Cinema' has all the movies that are on the website and currently in theaters.

· 'HD' displays only the movies with an HD quality.

· 'Indian' that shows you only the Indian movies. This seems like a new feature added to the website because it shows only one Indian movie.

· 'Top Movies' which is a long list of the most popular movies on the website.

· 'A Facebook like' panel to enable the website's visitors to easily like their Facebook page.

In each page, the thumbnail of each movie contains an image (a screenshot of the film or its poster), and the year of its release.

It also has a search bar where you can find any movie you want to watch and check if it is available to view for free on the website, and on the top, you can also find a panel that sorts movies according to their first initial.

'Vioz' does not actually host movies, it only provides links to other hosting websites, to relieve you from the burden of fake websites and searching times.

Do you like those features?

Well, you shouldn't. Because that is theft, and it is very illegal. The website is based on copyright infringement, also known as 'Piracy'. It is the use of works that are protected by the copyright law without taking the permission from their original owners. Only the holder of a copyright has the right to sell, reproduce, display or perform his protected work, and any attempts on these matters by someone else is illegal. The name comes from the original etymology of the maritime piracy because they are very similar as a pirate is the one who steals others' properties and claims them as his own, gaining from them financially or any form of benefit. Piracy is not to be confused with 'freebooting'. They are essentially the same thing because both are done without permission from the original owner, except that freebooting accurately means that the content is re-hosted or reused with attributing it to its original owner, but in a way, that gains the pirate more online popularity, and usually not financial gains.

But why is it illegal?

Let's imagine this scenario; you have been working on a project for about a year or so with your colleagues, that project is aimed at producing shirts with a very cool design. After all the work, you put into it, it is finally finished, and you're ready to start earning money for your job. You and your partners then opened a shop to sell these pants. Then someone sees your designs, starts making the same shirts and selling them, earning almost more than you did. How would you feel then, that your idea was stolen?

And that is why intellectual property theft is a bad thing, and even worse than you can imagine. Hundreds of people or even thousands gather and work together to produce a single movie, and to their despair; they go online and find out that their film is available for free and no one gave them a penny of compensation to their hard work among those who watched it for free.

It takes millions of dollars to produce even the simplest of movies (like the ones with no special effects), and this is why copyright laws exist. They allow film producers and makers a reasonable expectation of compensation to their work.

To be short: Downloading pirated movies is stealing.

For those of you who love numbers, here are some statistics:

· In the UK alone, 8000 jobs are lost annually because of piracy. · When a movie starts screening in Russian theaters, it gets downloaded more than a million times after that in the first week. · The South Korean home-video market has declined by 95% in the last ten years. · Blockbuster stated that 6 out of every 10 DVDs in Spanish households are pirated. · In the United States alone, $25 billion and 375,000 jobs are lost annually because of internet piracy. · Since 2000, bandwidth used to download pirated content has increased by at least 160%. · 24% of the internet is used to download pirated content. · In 2011, 'BitTorrent' websites had over 7.4 billion page views. · Every five years 30 billion song copies are illegally downloaded. · 50% of Americans believe that sharing files with friends is okay to do, and 70% believe that doing the same with their family is perfectly legal and not wrong. · Only 0.001% or one in every ten thousand illegal files are ever taken down from the internet. · 22% of all global bandwidth is used for illegal downloads. · Piracy websites receive 100,000 visits per minute, 146 million per day, and about 53 billion visits per year today. · Illegally downloaded software in 2010 was estimated to be worth about $59 billion. · The average iPod contains $800 worth of music, illegally downloaded. · The two most illegally downloaded pirated contents are pornography and movies, accounting for 35% each of all illegal downloads globally. · The movie 'Avatar' is the most pirated movie ever, with at least 17 million downloads. · The TV show 'Game of Thrones' is the most pirated TV show in history. · Adobe Photoshop CS and Microsoft Office are the most illegally downloaded software.

 

 

You can clearly see how enormous the numbers are, this can give you an idea about the size of pirated content around the world and the number of losses it causes.

When you think about it, stealing intellectual property is much worse than stealing a physical object, because intellectual properties are basically 'ideas'. Remember that ideas are what made someone like Bill Gates the richest man in the world, because his company, Microsoft, was nothing but an idea at first. Same thing applies to Facebook, Twitter, and all electronics and software companies. Not only them, but also every company and investment in the entire world is based on an idea, doesn't matter if it is a good or a bad one. So, when you steal someone's idea, that means you are in fact stealing both his or her money and his or her chance to be a successful person.

You might think 'big deal, actors and directors are already filthy rich and they will still make more money, doesn't really matter if they lost a couple of bucks'. That may be true, but there are two things to consider on this point:

1. Who are we to judge how much people are supposed to earn? It is still their work, their intellectual property, and they deserve to be compensated no matter how rich they are, it is their right.

2. You're forgetting something. Rich actors, directors, and producers do not only produce movies. The movies industry creates thousands of job opportunities. While filming any movie at any given time, you have cameramen, background actors, décor artists, editors, choreographers, graphic designers, etc. and in fact, the movie industry provides over 172 job roles from janitors to billionaire investors. So, you're not, in fact, counting the 'average Joes' who worked hard and did their parts in the making of that movie, and you're not considering that they could quickly lose their jobs in case their employer lost much money because of piracy.

To summarize the previous paragraph, do not underestimate the adverse effects of piracy, it is a serious issue that affects thousands of people. But did you know that piracy, in fact, influences YOU?

Other than the legal risks, the loss of billions of dollars every year has a negative impact on the economy of the United States. Piracy costs billions of dollars in retail dollar losses, job losses, and governmental tax losses. These amounts of money could have been put into your local community for your and your family's benefit. Piracy also holds significant security risks, a hacker can easily steal your money from your online banking services by planting viruses and malware in pirated content, and people will download it knowing nothing of this. Viruses and malware can damage your files, they could be just some unnecessary files or crucial files for your work, they can slow down your PC, send your passwords to the hacker, and even open your computer's doors to their other viral friends.

Piracy does not only affect movies and the movie industry, but it also affects everything that can be shared on any device. Songs, videos, software, video games, etc. are all affected by piracy, and we should stop it as a whole, not just stop pirating movies, but also stop the pirating of everything.

'But no one's watching me'

Other than the fact that even if that's true, you still shouldn't steal the work of others (because even if it is not illegal, it is immoral) but, someone IS watching you. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and your internet service provider (ISP) are watching you, and especially your internet service provider. They can easily know that you have downloaded something illegally. And if someone decided to file a suit against you, then you're facing up to five years in jail and fines that can reach $150,000 for every single illegal file.

'But that never happens, right?'

It does. A federal jury once ordered a 25 years old college student to pay $675,000 in fines; $22,500 for each of his 30 illegally downloaded songs. Same thing happened in Minnesota to a single mother called Jammie Thomas-Rasset, she was fined about two million dollars for the illegal download of 24 songs; $80,000 each. These are just examples, there are much more cases of that nature where the courts fined downloaders of illegal and pirated content substantial amounts of money.

'So, how can I help stop piracy?'

There are many things we can do to stop that act of thievery, including:

· Stop skipping the EULA or the End-User License Agreement. Seriously, stop skipping it and read it. EULAs define the legal conditions under which you can use the software; if you can set it up on more than one computer, if you can make a backup copy of the software, and if it is licensed for sharing or not. · Do not be afraid to speak up. Report any act of piracy you come across with. Report any reseller or retail establishment that you strongly suspect of piracy, whether they are a real shop or an online vendor. · Buy the software directly from the manufacturer's website. Try to avoid all Peer to Peer file sharing websites even if they seem very legit because in most cases they are selling you something that they stole. You might be thinking that you're buying an original copy of a software legally, but in fact, you may not be doing so. You may be paying money to a criminal to give you something that he stole, without you even knowing. So, stay safe and buy from the manufacturer's website directly. · If you must buy from a reseller for any reason, check their website first to see what types of authentication markings they have to guarantee that the software is legal and genuine. Different manufacturers have different ways of telling you if this product is genuine or not. Adobe, for example, include silk-screened artwork along with their trademarks, part numbers, and patent information on their CDs. Microsoft labels products with a “Certificate of Authority” label on the outside packaging of all of their products. · If available, verify your purchase before buying the software. Some companies have ways by which you can contact them and check if the product you are about to buy is original and not pirated. Most software developers have dedicated anti-piracy departments that you can contact directly.